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Sneakers on the Wire (Ch 1) Bloody Gristle

March 4, 2011

          

           

                          SNEAKERS ON THE WIRE

                                  A Novella

                                            By

                             Corona Cabronisimo

            Welcome to the hardcore streets of East Oakland…
 
             A Chicano Gangster stands in front of a graffiti-stained,
             liquor store wall.
 
             Another Vato approaches, greets the Gangster.
 
             Chota ain’t around, Vato hands over a pistol.
 
             The Gangster examines it, hands over some cash.  They part
             ways.
 
             A Wino staggers out of the store, crosses the street…
 
             Past a Prostitute who hops inside a john’s truck.
 
             The truck rolls away, passes beneath a telephone wire, forty
             yards up the street.
 
             A pair of high-top sneakers dangle off the wire.
 
             Twenty yards and closing: stains smear dangling sneakers.
           
             Ten yards and closing: stains look fresh, moist.
 
             Up close: a pair of white, high-top, 1970’s
             Converse tennis shoes soaked in blood.
 
             A light wind caresses the sneakers, they swing…
 
             Enough to expose the bloody gristle of chopped
             ankles…severed feet sit snugged beneath laced shoelaces.
 
             A drop of blood slides down the shoe’s toe-line, drops
             off…
 
             Lands on a Homeless Man’s forearm.  He spots the red stain,
             stops rolling his shopping cart.
 
             He rubs a finger over the spot, scrutinizes the blood,
             looks up.
 
             His eyes widen.
 
             Fifty yards down the street sits a modest, barrio-weathered home…
             The Rubio home.
            
 
                                     **
 
             Inside the worn, sparse Rubio living room, everything is in its
             place.
 
             Three framed certificates hang on the hallway wall: a
             “Professor Of The Year” award; a “Fruitvale Little League
             Coach Of The Year” award, and a “Community Service
             Achievement” award.

             Above the fireplace mantel, rests a wedding
             picture…Chicano bride and groom in their 40’s, smile
             inside the faux silver frame.
 
             Nearby sits an urn, etched into its copper base:
 
                                    Theresa Rubio
 
                                  Forever Soulmates
 
             Professor Raymond Rubio walks in from the hallway, adjusts
             his tie.  Pain, experience etch his features.  He’s a man
             who grew up in the barrio — a survivor.
 
             He pauses by the wedding photo.
 
             Rubio poses as the groom — it’s a recent photo.  The
             smiling bride is draped in a simple, off-white gown, which
             contrasts against her olive complexion.
 
             He traces his bride’s face with a finger…
 
             He reaches for his briefcase…his head swivels towards the
             fishbowl on the coffee table.
 
             The goldfish floats on its side.
 
             He taps the glass…eyes fill with concern.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Hey.
 
             Nothing.
 
             Taps harder.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Hey.
 
             Nothing.
 
             He scoops up the fish, blows on it.
 
             Nothing.
 
             He blows again, this time, spit sprays.
 
             The fish flops around in his hands.
 
             He dumps the fish back inside the bowl…the fish swims.
 
             A sigh of relief.
 
                                    **

             Rubio clutches his briefcase, trots down the porch steps…
             approaches a clean 1964 Chevy Impala.
 
             Mrs. Estrada, an energetic, naturalized citizen, speedwalks on
             the other side of the street. Her idea of an ideal son is Rubio.
 
             She’s escorted by Cookie, her son, an O.G. who glares at Rubio
             with eyes seeped in envy.
 
                                      MRS. ESTRADA
                           Good morning, hijo.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Good morning, Mrs. Estrada,
                           Cookie.
 
             Cookie’s glare intensifies.

             Mrs. Estrada nudges him with an elbow.
 
                                      COOKIE
                           Sup?
 
                                      MRS. ESTRADA
                           Can you still tutor my baby?
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Absolutely.  Lemme know when,
                           Cookie.
 
             Cookie scowls.  Another elbow.
 
                                      COOKIE
                           Yeah.
 
             Mrs. Estrada rolls her eyes, marches to her front door.
 
             Rubio sticks a key in the car door; Cookie’s eyes stay
             glued to Rubio’s back.
 
                                      MRS. ESTRADA
                           Oh, did you see the new ones?
 
             Rubio turns, follows Mrs. Estrada’s finger…she points
             to the dangling sneakers.
 
             The distance and angle disguise the sneakers’ bloody contents.
 
             Rubio straightens, eyes fixed on the prize.

                                      MRS. ESTRADA
                                (to Cookie)
                           Get inside.
 
             Mrs. Estrada follows Cookie into the house.
 
             Rubio slaps the briefcase on top of the car, pops it open,
             pulls out a digital camera.
 
             He moves to the middle of the street, faces the sneakers.
 
             A lowride creeps up behind him.  Two vatos sit
             inside…Joker behind the wheel; Happy front passenger.
 
             Rubio stands in the car’s way — too focused on the
             sneakers to notice.
 
                                      JOKER
                           Ey.
 
             Rubio stays focused on the shoes.
 
                                      JOKER
                           Move, foo’.
 
             Rubio places the camera’s window to his eye.
 
                                      JOKER
                           Ey!
 
             Joker blows the horn, Rubio jumps out of the way.
 
             Car screeches past.  Joker sticks out his arm, flips Rubio
             the middle-finger.
 
                                      JOKER
                           Picture this, puto!
 
             Rubio snaps a picture of Joker and the finger.
 
             Car speeds away.
 
             Rubio returns to the middle of the street, aims the camera.
 
             Through the lens, the shoes zoom in to thirty yards,
             freeze, CLICK…severed contents undetectable.
 
             Still photo transforms to black and white…
 
                                    **

             The black and white photo appears on a screen.

             In the darkness, Rubio holds a projector’s remote.
                                      RUBIO
                           And finally, the chucks.  If
                           you’ve never seen them on the
                           wire, you’ve never been to the
                           barrio.  Funny thing, though,
                           no one ever sees who tosses
                           them up there or knows why they
                           do it.  Some say it’s because
                           daddy bought a new pair a
                           shoes.  Others say it’s kids
                           messing around and some even
                           say it’s because the person got
                           offed.
 
             Britney Peterson, a yuppie, sits in the front of the class,
             raises her hand.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Britney?
 
                                      BRITNEY
                           What are chucks?
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Converse tennis shoes.
 
                                      BRITNEY
                           What’s offed mean?
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Murdered.
 
             Sitting next to Britney…JJ Perez, Chicano, in baggy
             clothes, a smart-ass from the barrio with a good heart.
 
             JJ smacks his gum, sarcastically chuckles at her barrio
             ignorance.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Something funny, JJ?
 
                                      JJ
                           Yup.

                                      RUBIO
                           What’d you score on my last
                           test, Britney?
 
             Britney hesitates.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           You can say it.
 
                                      BRITNEY
                           A hundred.
 
             JJ stops chewing.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           What’d you score — homegrown?
 
             JJ hesitates.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Keep it real now.
 
                                      JJ
                           Ninety-nine.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Get rid of that gum.
 
             Rubio’s attention returns to the screen.
 
             JJ sticks his gum underneath the desktop.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           I snapped this this morning.
 
             The picture regains its color, breathes new life
             into the image.  It’s no longer a picture…

             It’s REAL…
 
                                  
             Rubio’s voice continues in the background:              
 
                                      RUBIO 
                           It’s already my favorite.
 
             A drop of blood falls from the shoe’s toe-line…
 
             Lands in a shallow puddle of blood.

             Cop cars everywhere.  Tape surrounds the bloody
             crime scene.
 
             Homeless Man and a few locals stand outside the taped
             barriers.
 
             Cookie talks animately to Detective Powers, the alpha cop
             who’s seen it all.
 
             Powers’ partner, Lipton, a gung-ho, rookie detective
             asshole, listens in.
 
             Cookie points to Rubio’s home, mimics taking a
             picture of the sneakers.
 
             A Fireman stands inside a fire truck’s
             cherry-picker basket.  Hydraulics lift him towards the
             sneakers.
 
                                      FIREMAN
                           Okay.
 
             Basket stops.  Fireman leans in, peeks inside the sneakers.
 
             On-lookers, Powers and Lipton tilt their heads up, stare
             with anticipation.
 
             Fireman jolts back…color drains from his face. He looks at
             Powers–his eyes say it all.
 
                                      POWERS
                           Fuck me.
 
                                       **
 
             On the projector’s screen glows a pic of Joker in the lowride
             giving the finger.
 
              
                                      RUBIO
                           They say a picture’s worth a
                           thousand words.  This one’s
                           worth two.
 
             Students chuckle.
 
                                      JJ
                           That clock on the wall also
                           says two.
 
             Students tense up, wait for Rubio’s angry reaction.

             Rubio looks at the clock.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           So it does.  See you guys
                           tomorrow.
 
             A collective sigh, students file out.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Can I talk to you for a second,
                           JJ?
 
             JJ pauses.
 
                                      CHUBBY STUDENT
                           Dunnn dun-nun dun dunnnnnnnn.
 
                                      **
 
             
             Students file out of the classroom and face…

             A swat team, weapons pointed.
 
             Swat Team Leader presses a finger to his lips
             “hush”…points around the corner…students obediently
             race to the indicated area.
 
                                      
             Inside the classroom…
 
                                      RUBIO
                           I got high hopes for you.
 
             JJ listens, not totally convinced.
 
                                      
             Chubby student exits the classroom, door shuts behind him…

             He faces an automatic weapon. 
 
             
                                      SWAT TEAM LEADER
                           You the last student?
 
                                     
             Chubby boy trembles, shakes his head no.
                      
 
             Swat Team Leader motions Chubby boy to the back with
             the others, signals to his team…

             This is it.
 
                                     
             Inside the classroom…
 
                                      JJ
                           What kind’a high hopes?
 
             Rubio suddenly stares at the door.  It’s closed.  No
             movement.
 
             JJ follows his eyes.
 
                                      JJ
                           What?
 
             The door bursts open, swat team rushes in, rifles drawn.
 
                                      SWAT TEAM LEADER
                           Police!  Freeze!
 
             Rubio’s and JJ’s arms shoot up.
 
             Rifles point at Rubio.
 
                                      SWAT TEAM LEADER
                           Step away, son!
 
             JJ doesn’t budge.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Do it, JJ.
 
             JJ doesn’t.
 
                                      SWAT TEAM LEADER
                           Step away!
 
             No reaction.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           Do it!!
 
             JJ glances at Rubio, reluctantly obeys…a cop snatches him,
             hustles him out.
 
                                      SWAT TEAM LEADER
                           Raymond Rubio?
 
             Rubio stares into the automatic rifle’s barrel.
 
                                      RUBIO
                           If I say — yes?

To be continued…

*No part of this novella may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the author.    
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Geoffrey permalink
    March 24, 2011 6:23 pm

    This is great stuff! If you publish a book, I’d buy it. Contact me if you ever do! Thanks!

    • MEXICAN HEART...ATTACK! permalink*
      March 25, 2011 8:11 am

      Thank you so much for the compliment and for reading, Geoffrey! I’m happy you’re enjoying the story! I hope you enjoy the rest as it goes up! If SNEAKERS ever does get published as a book, will definitely let you know! Also hoping to see this on the big screen one day! Have an awesome weekend!

      Corona : )

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